A bill progressing through the legislature would curtail some of the governor’s power to issue regulations. The measure is controversial — particularly among environmental groups.
It would require the governor get approval from the legislature on any resolution that costs or earns over a million dollars. Under current law, lawmakers can contest resolutions, but aren’t consulted as a matter of course.
John Walliser, with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, came out against the measure.He said environmental regulations often have to change because of mandates from the federal government, among other things. That already takes a lot of time.
“Regulations, from the time they’re proposed to the time they’re supposed to be finalized, that cycle has to be completed within two years, and Pennsylvania already has a very robust, extensive regulatory review process,” he said.
He says even agencies have a hard time hitting deadlines under current law — and adding a legislative step might make it near-impossible.
“We could have situations where you have a regulation that’s proposed because of something that happened at the federal level or is required by federal law, and an agency needs to get this regulation finalized, but they can’t because they can’t get the legislative approval,” he said.
Bill sponsor Senator John DiSanto — a Dauphin County Republican — has said his goal is to protect the commonwealth from “burdensome” regulations.
National studies have ranked Pennsylvania as having among the most rigorous processes for approving state regulations.
The measure has passed the Senate, and now awaits House action.
The Wolf administration has said it has “serious concerns with attempts to hinder the executive branch’s ability to enact regulations.”